"...Miles’ songwriting is about everyday people making his music easily accessible, true-to-life rock and roll, with a healthy dose of Americana and folk. This album has moments of solo, seemingly personal refection to moments of finely crafted rock and roll by The Waywards. In the control of those extremes Miles tell his stories so well. I can understand the Johnny Miles to Bruce Springsteen but I have to agree with the Ryan Adams comparisons too." Click here for more...
November 11th, 2010 | 12:48PM | By The Key
We could tell you all about what we think ofJohnny Miles And The Waywards‘ new When The Saints Sleep—which would probably begin with, “Well, the title track is Helen’s Local Pick Of The Day, so obviously we think it’s awesome.” Or we could let Johnny tell you about it himself, as he’s quite the wordsmith: “Musically,” quips Johnny, “I guess it’s sort of a ‘contemporary-re-interpretation-of-a-chuck-berry-stones-y-kinda-high-energy-rock-and-roll-sound’ cake with a bit of a ‘ghostly-reverb-slight-desperation-delay’ icing, stuffed with some intense emotional imagery, laced with razor-sharp execution, and topped with a big ol’ bucket of brass (which is to say impudent-brazen-chutzpah-balls, not instruments).” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves...click here for more.
Johnny Miles‘ new album When The Saints Sleep is his 3rd full-length album. This is Miles’ 1st album with The Waywards a band featuring: Carl Cheeseman (guitars), Nate Gonzalez (keyboards), Al Gibson (drums), and Jeff Hiatt (bass, producer, and engineer). Yes, those are some of Philly’s best musicians. Johnny Miles & The Waywards do a fantastic job on this album.
“When The Saints Sleep” is an attention grabbing title track but “Hangin’ On To The Hoping” provides an almost tangible energetic flow. With lyrics “dreams change, commitments are made, and promises get broken – the most important things are left unspoken.” Miles sounds the happiest on “Sweet Sigh Of Relief”. The recording at the end of “Born To These Bones” delivers part of the album’s message “there’s only one life and this is it.” The other part of the message lies in the beautifully harmonized (thanks in part to Dawn Iulg and Christine Miles) refrain “or at least I can dream so” from the final track with a similar title.
Miles’ songwriting is about everyday people making his music easily accessible, true-to-life rock and roll, with a healthy dose of Americana and folk. This album has moments of solo, seemingly personal refection to moments of finely crafted rock and roll by The Waywards. In the control of those extremes Miles tell his stories so well. I can understand the Johnny Miles to Bruce Springsteen but I have to agree with the Ryan Adams comparisons too.
Congratulations to Johnny Miles & The Waywards on the release of When The Saints Sleep and thank you for filling my and fellow music lovers ears with great music....click here for more.
"Songwriter and guitarist Johnny Miles does not emphasize image and singles and sales - he believes in music for music's sake, for the way it makes him feel and the sheer satisfaction it brings..." Click here for more
By Ryan Simmons
Johnny Mile (Tree Records)
There are a few bands out there that do not get the same recognition as most because they don’t have the time to fit touring into their busy schedule. Unfortunately, these bands are tough to come across based on word of mouth alone. So when you hear one that you absolutely love, you want to keep them a secret as to not pack their shows with absolute assholes and obnoxious morons. The kind of band that eventually gets big, while you scoff and announce, not so casually, that you have been listening to them for years.
One gem that I have attempted to keep to myself over the last couple years is a singer/song writer by the name of Johnny Miles.
Upon his arrival to the great city of Philadelphia, you could catch Johnny playing anywhere from coffee houses, to street corners, or back porches at a local party with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. It did not take long, however, for him to make an impression on those around him and start working his way into performing at much larger venues. Playing with different band members almost every show under a new name, you may think you are headed to the wrong show. However, every name reads to be something along the lines of “Johnny Miles and the Something Band,” so if you are unsure of whether or not you are going to see the right Johnny Miles, don’t worry, the name is subject to change.
Although he takes a minimalistic approach to his music, there is nothing simplistic about this folky, wunderkind. Accompanied by some of the biggest music names in Philly, his 2007 album, “Sign of The Times” is a Midwestern treat for those of us on the East Coast. Shortly after it’s release, the album was featured in Philadelphia Weekly and John began getting a fair amount of well-deserved press. The album vividly paints pictures of a falling economy, the trials and tribulations of love and the views of an everyday guy. The twelve-track twangy slice of Americana is the perfect addition to any folk lover’s collection.
Any fan of Wilco, The Avett Brothers or Bob Dylan would be able to find something to love about Johnny Miles. Although he has not released anything in three years, he can still be found playing shows around the city. It took a lot out of my false sense of elitism to reveal this artist to the world, so please, if you see me at those shows, don’t be the drunk guy spilling beer on my shoes.
Johnny Miles - Sign Of The Times (Tree Records, released 12/4/07)
If 2006 was my year of bigger, more anthemic indie rock, then 2007 is my year of Americana. It seems that rootsier, folkier music has replaced electric driven tunes and pushed them to the back of my mind. Don't get me wrong, I'm still in love with that bombastic rock with huge, hooky choruses; it's just maybe as I age and everything's becoming more and more technologically advanced, I'm looking backwards to make sense of it all. Back to an easier time, where all you needed to record a great album was a bunch of people playing instruments in a room with a mic dangling in the center.
Which is exactly what Philadelphia-based songwriter/performer Johnny Miles accomplished beautifully here on Sign Of The Times. I'm sure he used a different recipe, and judging from the sparkling production values there was a bit more than just a mic hanging in front of a group of musicians. And what excellent musicians Mr. Miles assembles to complete his vision; the performers section in his liner notes reads like an All-Star Philly music team.
The album opens with a solo effort called Die In Debt; just a man, his acoustic guitar and harmonica pouring out emotive and powerful imagery confirming society's ills and finding refuge from it in the love of a good woman. Faces In the Wind goes from a jangly and rushed first three measures of each verse and slows itself down to a walk for the last line in each stanza, a wonderful device if I've ever seen one.
Gasoline is a Wilco-esque rocker, as if Miles was channelling Jeff Tweedy's midwestern malaise and bringing it home to the eyes, ears and hearts of Philly's collective consciousness. One of my favorite quotes from this album comes in the tracks' opening verse: This is a song about gasoline/ about golden arches and nicotine/ about hand guns and ice cream/ this is a song about a tight-rope...
The middle section has three gems in a row, acting as the centerpieceof the album. Nothing Gold, Sign Of The Times and Sailors- the first of the three is a political song. So without being preachy, Johnny breaks down the current regime's (almost) irreversible policies; America as a money-hungry corporation, 47 million without any kind of health insurance, environmental ennui, impoverished souls in the world's richest nation, and this costly and unjust war, all set to incredible piano riffs.
If you haven't been paying attention to the nightly news, allow Mr. Miles to act as the medium, and he continues his message with the album's title track. This mid-tempo ballad, however, may be about the war within each of us; the search for peace and serenity in a world gone completely mad. How do you stay sane when everything around you is crumbling?Johnny Miles' answer to the madness: "...the only thing that I can think to do is yell about it in a ballad."
Then my favorite track on Sign Of the Times, Sailors. That mandolin pulled on my heart-strings so taut that they finally snapped at the song's denouement; when banjo, mando, organ and Miles' emotive cries build to an amazing and focused crescendo.
The sonic jam at the back end of Follow Us Down may be my favorite section of music on the album, tying up the one-two punch led off by Turn & Draw, an alt-country/punk tune that lends a nod to both The Replacements and Uncle Tupelo.
Miles closes the album as he began it; solo. Sowers is a lovely little finger-picker that ties upSign Of The Times quite beautifully. And it's a gorgeous record when I think about where it has taken me, not only musically, but the photographs that flash in my mind from Johnny's accomplished lyricism. To be affected by how he captures images and puts said images into words, that's really what great music is all about.
By Doug Wallen
"Gasoline," the ringing standout on Johnny Miles' second album Sign of the Times, has the hard-bitten self-awareness of a protest song as well as a hooky alt-country catchiness that recalls early Wilco. (Miles covers a more recent Wilco entry, "Break My Heart," on his MySpace page.) The lyrics are commanding yet vague: "This is a song about gasoline/ About golden arches and nicotine/ About handguns and ice cream."
It's a quick scribble across the American landscape, something it sounds like Miles is largely fed up with but still endeared to. "This is a song about the old friends that you see around every now and then," he sings, "but you can't relate and you won't pretend." Later he's even more resigned, spitting, "The whole thing is a lottery that you won't hear on the radio" and then, "This is a song 'cause I said so."
The album title alone tells us Miles is taking stock of the world around him. And yep, he's plenty frustrated. On the title track he admits, "The only thing I can think to do is yell about it in a ballad." As harmonica and piano flesh out the folky swagger of its "American Pie"-ish build, Miles has the good sense to couch his singer/songwriter-isms in a lively full-band arrangement.
Ditto much of the album. "Paralyzed in Love" is a shuffling weeper made more poignant by a sparkling undercurrent of piano, while "Turn and Draw" is a back-porch rocker shot through with friendly carousing and mean guitar damage. When he sings softly, Miles sounds a bit like Mutations-era Beck, but he's often too livid or too elated to sing softly. That's fine too, considering Miles enlists some of Philly's stronger rock and country talent to back him up and drive his songs home.
Read more: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/music/umm__drop-38464139.html#ixzz35zPGCLQT